tv Democracy Now LINKTV November 28, 2019 4:00pm-5:01pm PST
11/28/19 11/28/19 [captioning made possible amy: from new york, this is democracy now! >> so the first thanksgiving story is -- begins with the pequot massacre by members of the massachusetts bay colony, which really marks sort of -- in my opinion, marks sort of the mythology of the united states as a settler-colonial country founded on sort of genocide to create, ironically, peace. amy: our history is the future. as the nation marks thanksgiving,
we speak to the indigenous scholar and activist nick estes. then to the acclaimed writer arundhati roy on the crisis in kashmir and growing authoritarianism in india and around the globe. >> there is no voice that's coming o out of kashmir. that's why i said the silence is the loudest sound. everyone, whether it's the major politicians, whether it's boys who throw stones on the e stree, whether it is businessmen, lawyers -- everyone is in jail, even now. you u know, thenen they cut t off phones. they cut off the internet. i mean, can you imagine? when has it been done before, 7 million peopople, communication lockdown? amy: all that and more coming up. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i am amy goodman. in this special broadcast, we begin with the indigenous scholar r and activist nick est. he is s a co-f-founder of the indigenous resistance group
the red nation and a citizen of the lower brule sioux tribe. i talked to him earlier this year about his book "our h history is the f future." the book tells the history of indigenous resistance over two centuries, offering a road map for collective liberation and a guide to fighting life-threatening climate change. estes centers this history in the historic fight against the dakota access pipeline at standing rock. i asked him to talk about the two thanksgiving stories he writes about at the beginning of his book. >> so the first thanksgiving story is -- begins with the pequot massacre by members of the massachusetts bay colony, which really marks sort of -- in my opinion, marks sort of the mythology of the united states as a settlerer-colonial country fofounded on sort of genidide to create, ironically, peace.
and then i begin with another story of a prayer march that we led in the bismarck mall in bismarck, north dakota, to kind of bring attention to the standing rock struggle during a black friday shopping event, which was met by police armed with ar-15s, who then began punching and kicking water protectors who were holding a prayer in the bismarck mall. and i thought it wasas a really kindnd of jarrrring sort of cont between, you know, the past and the present, to s say that while there e ae sort of differenceces between the massacre of pequots in massachusetts to t the contemporary sort of fight against an oil pipeline, nonetheless, you know, bismarck, nonorth dakota, is 90% white comommunity that originally the dakota access pipeline
was supposed to go upriver from, but then was rerouted downriver to disproportionately affect the standing rock sioux tribe. and "disproportionate" is the language that the army corps of engineers used, as if there's ever a proportionate risk to environmental issues and water contamination. so at this particular moment, there weren't any actions that were happening in the camps, and it was largely at a standstill. and i think that thanksgiving weekend, there was an unthanksgiving feast that was held in the camps, and it was actually the highest point of the camps themselves in the sense that there were the most sort of water protectors had showed up. so i thought it was a good kind of contrast to show that this history, you know, is a continuing history of genocide, of settler colonialism and, basically, the founding myths of this country.
amy: your book's last words are, "we are challenged not just to imimagine, but to demand the emancipation of earth from capital. for ththe earth to l live, capitalism must die." explain. >> so that line is part of this longer section on liberation. and i think when we think about climate change, oftentimes t the question ofof climate change really cenenrs on market-driven solutions, such as, you know, green capitalism and how do we create markets that sort of incentivize transition to sustainable economies, right? and i think, really, what we're kind of like beating around the bush is, is that it's the system of capitalism that led us into this economic crisis to begin with. it's the sort of designation of certain populations in certain territories as disposable,
that has led us into our current epoch of global climate change. and so when n we talk about wh's going g to bear r the mostst bn when we transition, you know, out of the carbon economy, it most likely is going to be those populations that have historically been colonized, you know. and what's happening in southeast africa is a perfect example of why we need to transition away from not just the carbon economy, but capitalist economies in general, because if we look at the history of how africa has been a resource colony for europe and for north america, we can look internally in the united states and understand that indigenous nations continue to serve as resource colonies for the united states, whether it's the navajo nation, where i am living right now, that is producing oil and coal to generate electricity for the southwest region, or whether it's the fort berthold reservation up in north dakota, that is, you know, ground zero
for oil and gas development in the bakken region. we have to understand that indigenous nations have largely been turned into resource colonies and sites of sacrificece for not just the united statate, but for the oil and gas industry. and so we need to not just think beyond climate change and putting carbonon into the atmosphere, but we actually need to think about the s stem, ththe social system,m, ththat created those conditions in the first place. and so capitalism is fundamenentally a a social rela. it's a profit-driven system, whereas indigenous sort of ways of relatingng is one about reciprocity and a mutual sort of respect, not just with the human, bubut also with the nonhuman world. and we're undergoing, you know, the sixth mass -- sixth massive extinction event, which is caused d by not just climate change, but isis caused by capititalit sort of systems and d the profit-drive sort of momotive
of our current economic and social system. amy: i want to go to president trump righght after r he was inaugura, announcing t the pair of presidential memorandums to revive the keystone xl and dakota access oil pipelines, the two major projects halted by the obama administration following massive resistance from indigenous and environmental groups. pres. trump: this is with regard to the construction of the keystonone pipeline, something ththat's beenen in die and is subject to a renegotiation of terms by us. we're going to renegotiate some of the termrms. and if they'd like, we'll see if we can get tt t pipeline buiuil. a lot of jobs, 28,000 jobs, great construction jobs.
this is with respect to the construction of the dakota access pipeline, dakota access pipeline. again, subject to terms and conditions to be negotiated by us. amy: so that is president trump, newly inaugurated, announcing that he was moving forward with the dakota access pipeline and he was reviving the keystone xl. the significance of this, professor estes? >> so if we go back to 2014, obama was the -- one of six sitting presidents to actually visit an indian reseservation during his time in office, and he actually visited ststanding r rock during their flag day powwow and met with then-tribal chairman dave archambault iii. and so he made a promise to youth at that particicular powwow that he would --
you know, that we would put our minds together to make what's best for the future generations, you know, citing sitting bull, one of the lakota leaders of resistance in the 19th century. and, you know, the dakota access pipeline, when it came down from the bakken oil region, it was those standing rock youth who ran to washington, d.c., hoping that obama woululd live up to his promise to listen to the youth, the indigenous youth. and from what we know now, it's s that we don't t know if he was even listening. and so in many ways, you know, obama couldn't really halt the construction of the pipeline. towards ththe end ofof his te, i know that there was -- there was an order to halt the construction and a mandated environmentatal review. but by and large, you know, his administration was a failure to uphold sort of ththat promie to indigenous people.
and so if obama's administration is a failure, then the trump administration is an absolute catastrophe for indigenous nations in the united states, because, you know, trump has intensified the oil and gas extraction not just in the bakken region, but here in the four corners area, in the permian basin in western texas, and parts of new mexico. oil production has just increased, and he's ususing the e bureau of land management to essentially sell off, sometimes for dollars on the acre, indigenous land or public lands, as we know it now, which is really just stolen indigenous land, to the highest bidder. and when we talk about pipelines and d we talk about oill and gas producuction, we really have to talk about the soururce of those pipepeli. and here, you know, in the southwest region, it's the permian basin and the four corners region where there's been extensive fracking and oil
and gas development. amy: nick estes, you focus on seven historical moments of resistance in your new book "our history is the future." you say they form a historical road map for collective liberation. how didid you choose these histories? just quickly take us through them. >> sure. so i begin at the camps. i begin in the present, you know, at standing rockck. and then i go to the fur trade with the first u.s. invasion, which was lewis and clark, who came through -- who trespassed through our territory and were stopped by our leadership. and then i go through the indian wars of the 19th century and the buffalo genocide. and then i go into talking about the damming of the missouri river in the mid-20th century, and then looking at red power in the 1960's and in the 1970's and how all of these indigenous people who were were relocated
because their lands were flooded by these dams eventually found themselves and created sort of the modern indigenous movement, known as red power, and then looking -- going back and ending actually at s standing rorock in 1974 with the creatation of the international indian treaty council, which really coalesced these generations of indigenous resistance and took the treaties, the 1868 forort laramie treaty, to the world and to the united nations. anand to do o that, they lookd to palestinians, they looked to the south african anti-apartheid movement whwho provided the mechanismss for recocognition of indigenous rights at the united natitions. anand that all resulted, over four decades, in the touchststone documentn, the e united natio dececlaratin on the rights of indigenenous peoples, which was passed by the u.n. in 2007. and so in many ways,s, when we we look at standing rock
and we look at -- if we go down flag row and we see the hundreds of tribal nation flags that were represented in 2016 and 2017, wewe also saw w the palestiniang at was t tre, kind of hearkekening back to that international solidarity with movements of the global south, and specififically ouour palestinian relatives who today are still facing -- much like us, are still facing the brunt and the brutality of settler colonialism, whether it's, you know, the united states recognizing the annexation of the golan heights or whether it's, you know, here in north america and the continued dispossession of indigenous territory and rights. we can see thahat settler colonialism anand iselel -- or in palestine, is really an extension of settler colonialism in north amemerica. and then i end, you know, with -- back at the camps and looking at how these camps really provided --
you know, i actually look at a physical map that was handed out to water protectors who came to the camp. and on that map there was, you know, where to find food, where to find the clinics, right? and where to find the security, and all the camps that were represented at standing rock. and to me, that provided, you know, a kind of interesting parallel to the world that surrounded the camps, which was 90 -- you know, some 92 different law enforcement jurisdictions. you hahad the nonorth dakota national guard, the woworld of cops, the woworld of the militarizid sort of f police state. and in the camps themselves, you had the sort of primordial sort of beginnings of what a world premised on indigenous justice might look like. and in that world, you know, everyone got free food. there was a place for everyone. you know, the housing, obviously, was transient housing and teepees and things like that, but then also there was health clinics to provide healthcare,
alternative forms of healthcare, to everyone. and so if we look at that, it's housing, education -- all for freeee -- a strong sense o of mmununity. and for a a short titime, there was free education at the camps, right? those are things that most poor communities in the united states don't have access to, and especially reservation communities. but given the opportunity to create a new world in that camp, centered on indidigenous justie and treaty rights, society organized itself according to need and not to profit. and so where there was, you know, the world of settlers, settler colonialism, that surrounded us, there was the world of indigenous justice that existed for a brief moment in time. and in that world, instead of doing to settler society what they did to us -- genociding, removing, excluding -- there's a capaciouousness to indigenous r resistance movemens that w welcomes in nonindigenos peoples into our struggle because that's our primary strength,
is one of relationality, one of making kin, right? amy: nick estes, indigenous scholar and activist nick estes, author of, "our history is the future" and co-editor of the new book "standing with standing rock: voices of the no dapl movement." nick estes is co-founder of the indigenous resistance group the red nation and a citizen of the lower brule sioux tribe. he is assistant professor in the american studies department at the universrsity of new mexico. whwhen we comeme back, w we sk to thehe indian writer arundhati roy. stay with us. [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org. i am amy goodman. we turn now to the crisis in kashmir as india's crackdown continueues. over thehe summer, massive prototests erupted afterr indian prime narendra modi revoked the special status of the indian-controlled part of the muslim-majority region. human rirights groups s say modi''s government then carried out widespread torture,
extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, and other crimes in kashmir. on august 5, a complete communication blackout was imposed on kashmir. we turn to the indian writer and activist arundhati roy. she has long spoken out for self-determination for the people of kashmir. arundhati roy won the booker prize in 1997 for her first novel, "the god o of small things." her second novel, "the ministry of utmost happiness," was long-listed for the man booker prize in 2017. in 2002, roy received the lannan foundation cultural freedom prize. her r most recent book is a collection of her nonfictionon essays titled "my seditious heart." democracy now!'s nermeen shaikh and i recently interviewed arundhati in our new york studio. i began by asking her about the crisis in kashmir. >> welell, i don't -- i mean, my heart doesn't have much to do with it. so todayay is the 100th day of the sort of information
and internet shutdown in kashmir. it's been under curfew for most of these hundred days. now the curfew has been lifted. schools have been reopened. markets have been declared open. but kashmiris are refusing to accept a sort of normalcy, you know, because what happened on the 5th of august was the striking down of what was known as section 370, which really incorporated in the indian constitution the special conditions on which the sovereign kingdom of jammu and kashmir acceded to india. and so by striking that down, they struck down -- they demoted kashmir from being a state to being what's known as a union territory. they trifurcated it. but most important that they dissolved a law called 35a,
which made kashmiris the stewards of their own land. so now, you know, kashmir can be overrun by indians. that's the e way they see it. i mean, india, you know, earlier, used to say kashmir is an integral part of india. but now they say now it's really an integral part of india, you know? so -- amy: why is it so important to modi? >> welell, it's been important. you know, the thing is that modi-- more than than the bjp, modi belongs to the rss, the rashtriya swayamsevak sangh, which is a sort t of the mothership of the -- the cucultural mothership of whh the bjp is a political arm. and the striking down of this section has always been on the agenda of the rss, you know? so it was -- one by one, these things are being done,
which are things that they have sworn to do. there's nothing impulsive or sudden about it. it's just unconstitutional and probably illegal, but it's not t impulsive. amy: to exprpress hindu suprema? >> yes, yes. nermeen: well, earlier this year, you wrote an opinion piece on kashmir for "the new york times" headlined "the silence is the loudest sound." in the piece, you wrote -- "while partition and the horrifying violence that it caused is a deep, unhealed wound in the memory of the subcontinent, the violence of those times, as well as in the years since, in india and pakistan, has as much to do with assimilation as it does with partition. what's unfolding today on both sides of the border of the erstwhile state of jammu and kashmir is the unfinished business of assimilation." you wrote that in "the new york times" in august. can you talk about what you meant by that? >> well, what i meant was that, you know, we tend to forget
that at the time of partition there were more than 500 independent sovereign territories, kingdoms, princely states, regions. and when the british left, sisince then, in fact, since 19, there hahas been a continuous process, a military process, to assimilate these areas. i mean, jammu and kashmir was one of them, but across the northeast -- you know, nagaland, mizoram, manipur, all these places. and all of them m have very specific and unique terms and conditions on which they acceded to the union. so that's what i meant, you know, by the violence of assimilation, in that, i mean, whether it was the princely state of junagadh or hyderabad or what happened in nagaland, hundreds, maybe tens of thousands -- they don't do body counts,
but thousands of people have been n killed. mean, justst in hyderabad alone, it was 40,000,0, a new report s says, you know? in nagaland, it's been more than that. in kashmir, it's 70,000 people that have died in this conflict. so the numbers are huge and hidden by the sort of noise and music and sounds of democracy. but so these battles, like in kashmir, the struggle has been -- for freedom has been militant since 1990. and today, it is the densest military occupation in the world, made more dense inin august, onon the 5th of august, by another 50,000 troops that were flown in to deal with the possible fallout of what would happen after this abrogation. amy: so what does this blackout mean? and how many people have been arrested? have you heard about torture? and what has beenn pakistan's response? >> well, t thousands of pepeoe have been arrested.
the remarkable thing was thahat the leaders across the spectrum have been arrested, including three chchief ministe, all l pro-india politicians, carrying india's water right from 1947. so what has happened is now there is no voice that's comiming out okakashmir. that's why i i said thehe silee is the loudest sound. everyone, whether it's the major poliliticians, whether it's boys who throw stones on the street, whether it is businessmen, lawyers -- everyone is in jail even now. you know, then they cut off phones. they cut off the internet. i mean, can you imagine? when has it been done before, 7 million people, communication lockdown? people don't know whether their children have died, whether they're alive. at night, police and soldiers are going into people's houses, arresting them. you know, so the -- we actually don't even know
the level of horror that has h happened. and now the fact is that some lines -- some phone lines have been restored, but still the e internet has not been restorered in a county where until now they were boasting about digital india. everything works on the internet, you know, whether your -- i mean, whether it's hospitals or medicine supplies or -- you know, the kashmiri mediaia is completetely censored. so it's a bit like those pamphlets that the americans used to drop in vietnam during the war saying how great this war is for you. the newspapers in kashmir have these big front-page advertisements about how great this annexation is for kashmir and how wonderful a time they are having now, you know? nermeen: well, i'd like to go to another state in india that's under siege, and that's the northeastern statete of assm where nearly 2 million people are at risk of being rendered
stateless after the government published its national register of citizens earlier this year. the highly contested register was first created in 1951 and lists people who are able to prove they came to the state by march 24, 1971 -- a day before neighboring bangladesh, then east pakistan, declared independence from pakistan.n. the indian g government says te list helps identntify bangladeshi migrants who are not legal residents. critics say it's an attempt to deport millions of muslims. reresidents suspected of being foreigners can be rounded up and sent to prison camps. as many as 10 mass detention centers are now being built in the area to i incarcerate thesese so-called stateleless people. so arundhati, you u were recently in assam. can you talk about what the situation there is now, and these detention centers that are being built? >> see, the situation in assam is really complicated, you know, because,e, like you said, assams a state that bordersrs banglgla.
earlier, it was part of what was then known as east bengal, whicich then became east pakist, which became bangladesh. and it has a history of migration which goes back to like 1826 or earlier. when the british basically took over assam, they more or less invited the kind of robust peasants of east bengal to come in to this state, which they thought was, like the british thought in australia, you know, terra nullius. they did not pay attention to the fact that it was actually populated by very many tribes. there's something like 200 different tribes, languages, communities. there's a history to the national citizens register in assam which can'n't be simplifieied, you knowow? it wasn't what people in the indian mainland like to think of as, "oh, some hindu-muslim problem."
it was not. it was more,e, actually, a resentmement of the assamese, or people who thought they were assasamese, against bengalis. and then there was a linguistic problem there of the british declaring bengali to be the language. but the situation now is, of course, that the current bigotry isis kind ofof grafting itselflf onto a genuine problem of millions of -- you know, millions of refugees coming in from bangladesh. and now they've been settled -- people have been settled there, as i said, for more than 150 years, and suddenly they're saying, "produce your legacy papers" -- not suddenly, i mean, this has been going on since the 1950's. the real danger is, what are they planning to do? i mean, even these 2 million people, they say that they have to appear before tribunals. i visited some of these islands, which are called the char islands.
ththe poverty, the illiteracy - there's no health, education, no school. and suddenly you're like casting these people into this labyrinth of bureaucracy and lawyers and terror by other means, you know? amy: and what does it mean if you lose your citizenship? >> i mean, like hannah arendt said, you know, what is citizenship? it's the right to have rights, you know? you lose that, you lose everything. but -- so the conflict in assam has been happening for a long time. for example, in 1983, there was the nellie massacre, where, you know, officiaially, it was, i think, 2000 people. unofficially, up to 10,000 muslims were killed. now, again, you can't just place it directly in the same sort of debate that goes on in the mainland. but today the real danger is that the home minister, amit shah, the day he took office,
he declared that they were going to first -- first, they said, they were going to allow the nrc all over india. he allowed district magistrates and state governments to set up these foreigners' tribunals and detention centers all over india. and now the danger that they feel with the nrc in assam, the national register of citizens, is that of those 2 million people, actually, not all 2 million are muslims. more than half are supposed to be hindus or people who have not managed to prove this uninterrupted legacy since 1971. so the bjp, in order to get over that problem, is planning in the next session of parliament to pass a citizenship amendment bill in which it then amends this whole process to explicitly say that those who are christians, buddhists, hindus,
refugees, persecuted refugees from other countries, from the countries of pakistan, afghanistan and bangladesh, will eventually be given citizenship -- so leaving out muslims -- and then using the bogey of the bangladeshi or the muslim refugee or infiltrator, who the home minister calls "termites," to actually ask the entire population of india to produce legacy documents. what does that mean? you know? the only t thing -- the last time that was done is in 1935 in germany, you know, when the reich said that only the papers that we give you will decide whether you're a citizen or not. so it's a very, very dangerous situation. amy: and then you have this latest development of india's supreme court
ruling in favor of hindus in a decades-long dispute -- how did "the new york times" describe it? "a holy site contested by over muslims, handing the prime minister and his followers a major victory in their quest to remake the country as hindu and shift itit further fromtsts secularar foundation." explain the significance of this holy site. >> well, i mean, it's a pretty unholy dispute, i'll have to say, you know? soso the babri masjid was built in the 16th century. and inin 1949, after independen, the hindus claimed that the actual physical idol of ram lalla, the young god ram, was founded. they've always said that this was the birthplace of lord ram. and thenen in the late 1980's and early 1990's, as the bjp was rising, it led a huge campaign
saying that we want a ram temple to be built there. and in 1992, a mob, led by the bjp and an organization called the vishva hindu parishad, basically hammmmered that mosque into dust. and since then -- and after that, around 2000 people were killed in riots, mostly muslim. and since then, it has been the cauldron that is brought to the fore every time the bjp has campaigned for an election -- "we needed to build this temple" and so on. so now, in a way, the resolution is because these other issues have come which are going to be permanently on the boil -- you know, kashmir and the national register of citizens. and so it's time for them to establish this one great victory. and the supreme court judgment, i mean, i haven't read it because it came out yesterday, but it was 1000 pages long.
and i've only read, yoyou know, excerpts f from it. but it seems to be -- its logic seems to be a little untenable because on the one hand, it says that there's no evidence that there was a hindu temple underneath this mosque. it says that there was sort of an illegal desecration of the mosque on two occasions -- one when this little idol was put in and the other when it was demolished by a mob. but then it says that muslims have been unable to prove that they worshiped at this mosque uninterruptedly for all these years. i don't know what else they were doing in the mosque if not worshiping. and even thohough there wasn't a temple and even though there's no proof, the hindus have beenen able to prove that they have had uninterrupted possession of it, and so the land was handed over to a trust,
which is going to build this temple. so it seemed a little twisted to me, the whole thing. but i think, you know, the more interesting thing is that in the days in the runun-up to this, there was, you know, section 144, which prohibits public assembly. police were out. riot police were out. the social media was being watched. the prime minister came out and said, "we want peace," becaususe it's, in a way, very - it's the peace ofof victory.. yoyou know, the victors want peace now. but it shows you how, when they want to control a situation, they can, and when they want to allow the riots, the lynchings, they suddenly appear helpless, you know? amy: the indian writer and activist arundhati roy. we will be back with her in a minute. [music break] [music break]
nermeen: during the visitt to the u.s., president trump appeared alongside modi at a houston, texas, rally billed as "howdy modi." about 50,000 indian americans attended the event, chanting "modi! modi!" as he appeared on stage to introduce trump, calling him, "my friend, a friend of india, a great american president." the howdy modi event was the largest event of its kind with a visiting leader in the u.s. just days before the rally, a pair of kashmiri citizens filed a lawsuit in the u.s. against modi for carrying out extrajudicial killings and other crimes in occupied kashmir. trump also praised modi in his remarks at the event. pres. trump: in november, the united states and india will demonstrate a dramatic progress of our defense relationship, holding the first-ever tri-seservice military exercrce
between our nations. it's called tiger triumph. good namame. it's a good name. both india, the united states also understand that to keep our communities safe, we musust protect our borders. nermeen: so that's trump speaking at the howdy modi event earlier this year. so can you talk about the relationship between trump and modi, and also these series of events in india which all seem to be kind of successes for the modi government? we just talked a about kasashm, the national register of citizens, and now this ayodhya judgment. >> see, these are -- like i said, you know, they are all very linked, and they're all part of the rss agenda. so actually, you know, white supremacists or neo-nazis or aryan supremacists,
all of them must look at india's rss with great envy because they do -- none of them can match that kinind of hisistory and ororganization right now. they have somemething like 600,000 volunteers, you know, trained paramilitary. modi, of course, is a member of that organization. they have some 57,000 branches across the country. they run schools where millions of students study. it's all very -- so, as you can see, trump is almlmost ingratiating, in his own country, you know, being g gifted this m massive audience. i mean, i should tell you that while we were -- amy: being gifted this massive audience of people of color. >> of people of color. and he, of course, trump, within two days of this was being g -- you know, the whole impeachment news had come in. but, you know, what is happening in india and all these victories that are accruing one by one,
also you're forgetting that demonetization, which was modi's first announcement -- i think today is the third-year anniversary of i it when modi cameme on tv and announced that 80% of india's currency was no longer legal tender. today, economists say that it was the equivalent of shooting the tires off a racing car. the indian economy is tanking, you know? economists say that it's actually in recession, that the figures are not correct. and if you come to india, you'll see how terrifying the situation is because you can't say whether this m massive loss ofof jobs is a 45-year low of -- high, of unemployment, whether all these jobless people are now just getting the cocaine
high of building a ram temple and making fascist videos, or whether that is going to go against modi. i can't say yet, youou know? bubut these victories are e gog to be pyrrhic victories. i just don't know how long it will take for thememo go down.. i don't know how many of us will pay the price for it. and i don't know how india can survive this, bebecause india is a c country- isis not a country. it's a continent. it's a continentt withth 780 languages and more religions than all of europe. you know, this kind of thing can only be temporary. and then there can be something very awful that happens unless people understand what's being dodone to them. but they're living in a kind of hothouse of propaganda and event management and a kind of costume ball
that passes for government. amy: well, you talk about how people can survive it. whatat about you, as a very outspoken n writer, critic of modi? how vulnerable do you feel? >> well, you know, i thinink all all l of us who- you know, when they won the election this time, in april, the first thing that -- the first t thing in his election speech that evening after the vote was counted, you just wondered, "why aren't you happy?" you know, the spspeech was agan full of anger. and he had destroyed the opposition. he had destroyed all the old parties that represented the disadvantaged castes, the dalit caste. all of that had collapsed. but he went after the intellllectuals, the writer, the -- you know, this kind of gang, he called us, of people who he simplyy can't seem to control.
but now, one by one, i look aroround and there are empty chairs. people are i in jail. pepeople are being killed. it's really terrifying. amy: and so,o, you've come to this cocountry. can you talk about trump in t the united states, how you view what's haenening re nowow and how you view t the electcts that are t taking place and the e candidates wharare challengnging him,m, from joe b bideno bebernie sanas to elizabeth w warren? >> well, i meaean, often when oplele have asked d about trum, you know, i've said this, that trump seems to be -- seems to me to be the kind of effluent of a system that is collapsing, whereas modi is the system. you know? he h t the bkiking of the media. he has the backing of the army, the courts, a majoritarian popular vote.
here i see the fight is on, you know, which i hope to god is going to be won by this fightback against trump, you know? and i -- personally, to me, when i listen to bernie sanders speaking, i think it's great that these things are being said finally on the mainstream platform in the u.s., you know? earlier, it would have been just inconceivable that someone is coming out and saying the thingngs that h's saying about healthcare and about, you know, minimum wages and d all of tha. so i'll just say that here the fight is on, and for us in india, it would matter that someone like trump loses. although, i'll say this, too, that we've seen that quite often
democratic governments are more aggressive internationally, you know? so i hope that doesn't happen. i doubt it will happen if someone like bernie sanders wins, you know? but there's been -- i mean, ththe devastation of the world after 9/11 is just - -- i mean, modi, let's just -- let me just say this. everyone forgets and there's a sort of sponsored amnesia over this, that how did modi enter indian politics? weeks after 9/11,, when islamophobia became a world -- you know, sanctioned across the world, weeks after that, the bjp removed the sitting chief minister of gujarat and installed modi, who was at that time not even an elected member of the legislative assembly.
and within months of that, you had this fire of the railway coach in which 59 hindu pilgrims were buburnt. nobody knows yet what that fire was caused by. and ththen you h had the famos 2002 pogrom, in which 2500 people were massacred, slaughtered, raped, burnt alive. and within a very short time - - amy: muslims. >> yeah. and within a very short time, modi announced elections and won. and even in 2014, when reuters asked him, during his -- during his campaign, where he was going to be the prime-ministerial candidate for the bjp, the reuters asked him if he regretted what had happened under his watch in gujarat. and he basically said, "i wouldn't regret it even if a dog came under the wheels of f my car." amy: and, of course, he e was bannnned from the ununited sta.
he was not alloweded to enter bebecause of what happened theh. >> yeah, yeah, yeah. so you know, what happens in the u.s., you know, sometimes you don't even realize the ripples that it causes and the waves of death and destruction that are created by the e actios of this country, you know? and trump -- i mean, it's awful to see what's happening here, and it's emembarrassing to see what's happening here. but i just don't -- i just don't think that every single institution has collapsed in the way it has over there. evevery single institution has fallen in line. the media and the supreme court could have stood in the way of what is happening in india. it hasn't, you k know?
so we are in very, very serious trouble there. nermeen: well, why do yoyou sa, though, arundhati -- why would it make such a big difference to india if trump is elected or trump is not? >> why would it make a difference? because, you see, this kind of ideology, you know, the ku klux klanism of trump, the white supremacy that is growing all over europe, and the ideology of the rss, vhp, t they all l interlock, you know? and many of the far-riright individuals have personal connections with each other, you know? so that's why i say that it would -- and the point is, i don't know. you know, like, i don't know what more i can say or do because i really don't -- i really don't think that anybody can help india
except the people. and one is beginning to be scared of the people, you know, of the things that are being said in t the op, of the lynching, the crowds gathering, making videos while people are being beaten to death, you know? since 2015, i think it's like 120 people have been lynched. amy: are you careful when you walk? >> yeah, i mean, i think that whatever will happen, will happen. i can't do anything about it, you know? like, i can'n't gogo around being fearful. i know that there are a lot of great thihings. you know, the sad -- the e real tragedy f for me is that everything that was beautiful about india, whether it was the music, whether it is the craft,
whether it's the poetry, whether it's the literature, whether it's the language -- everything that's beautiful about that placece comes from that infinite complexity, the compositeness of it. and everything that's beautiful is being turned into acid, you know? everything that's bebeautiful is being turned inside out. and, i mean, just as a writer or a artist or a person who loves poetry or language, you know, it's just unthinkable what is being done. how can you tell aouountry that has 780 languages and sikhism and buddhism and christianity and various indigenous gods and goddesses and all of that, that you want one language, one constitution, one religion, one nation. it's suicidal.. amy: well, speaking of a different kind of acid,
i wanted to ask k you about the e pollution in india, about climate change. you come to the united states just a week after president trump announced the final plans toto remove the united statats from the p paris climate agreement, the only country in the world to withdraw. you come from new delhi. government authorities have warned thatat new delhi has turned into a gas chamber with toxic smog blanketing one of the world's most populated cities. offificials have declared a pubc health emergency and distributed over 5 million masks to residents who are worried about the physical and psychological impact of the pollution. >> apart f from breathing issue, pollution n is also presessurig us p psychologically. that's what''s happening now. it's not winter, soso it's definitetely not fo. we're walking around with masks. amy: so arundhati roy, you live in new delhi. everything f from trump beining a climate denier
to where does modi stand and what do you think needs to hapappen? >> well, you know, sometimes some of us feel like the pollution in delhi is s somehow representatative of the politics, too, you know? it's just so filthy. i drove from delhi to a town in punjab called jalandhar last week. it was like seven hours. it was like dystopia, you know, just burning, smoke. you couldn't tell whether it was night or day. see, modi, again, he stands up and says things which people want to hear about the climate, but at home he'll appear and talk to children and say things like, "oh, the worldld is not warmin. it's just that we are feeling warmer," you know, like -- or stupid stuff like that.
and, in factct, when we're talking g about assam and wewe're talkingng about t kashmir, in some ways it does have to do with climate change because therere is a prediction that india's greatest crisis inin the very near future is going to be a water crisis. and, of course, as you know, i mean, i have spent a lot of time writing about water and dams and development and crop patterns and all of that. amy: the battle against the narmada dam and others. >> yeah. he gave himself the full-to-the-brim reservoir of the narmada dam on h his 69th birthday, five days before he came to america for the trump -- amy: what did he give himself? >> he filllled the reservoir of the narmada dam, you know, a reservoir that's, i guess, larger than the size of rome or something. and so the people who had been fighting the dam just watched their homes go under. this was his birthday present to himself. but, you know, the thing is that even like i'm saying
about kashmimir and assam, underneath all this, there is also calculations about climate. for example, there are five rivers that run through kashmir. and to commandeer that water to have proper access to it is very, very important. and the other thing is, what is this business of declaring people stateless or asking people to present their legacy documents? you're not going to be able to really expel millions of people. i mean, bangladesh is not going to take them. soso the idea is to create a kid of tiered citizenship in which some people have rights and some people don't, like a new caste system that exists alongside the old one, but now with legal provisions in which muslims are the new dalits, you know? so as we -- amy: dalits being the formerly untouchable people.
>> yeah. and so, you have a situation where resources are shrinking, water is disappearing, and the economy is shrinking, too. so there are very terrififying coats s underlying this. it's like you're reaching back into some odious past to come up with a modern management system for a modern crisis. nermeen: well, before we conclude, arundhati, i'm sure you're aware that your booker prize-winning book, "god of small things," was listed by the bbcc as one of the 100 novels that shaped the world. are you working on another book of fiction? >> no, not right now. you know, i'm very disturbed, you know, by everything that's going on, so i'm hoping that after a few months i'll retreat somewhere.
but it's very -- i don't know. it's vevery hard to communicate the scale and the shape of this shadow that is taking india over. you know, like, i know that what happened in germany happened because people thought those who were raising the early warnings were too emotional and anglo-saxon macho world doesn't like emotion, you know? but the truth is that it's a very, very serious problem that we have, and it comes at us from every direction nowow. and so, yeah, i don't know. i don't know how to communicate t this.
and i don't know how -- what anyone can do about it, except us, you know, but still -- i'm a writer. i just have to write it. amy: the indian writer and activist arundhati roy. her debut nonovel "t"the god of small things" was recently named by the bbc as one of 100 novels that shaped our world. arundhati's most recent book is a collection of her nonfiction essays titled "my seditious heart." and that does it for today's show. tune in on friday for a special hour with the legendary musician davivid byrne talking ababout his broadway hit "american utopia," his time in the talking heads, howow he became a bike advocate, and much more. that is friday on democracy now! democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciatete the closed captitioning. e-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
hello. a very warm welcome to nhk "newsline." it's 9:00 a.m. on friday in tokyo. i'm miki yamamoto. we begin in north korea where a missile launch is making front-page news. the leader oversaw the test of a super large multiple launch rocket system. kim jung on is said to have expressed great satisfaction with the latest test. the media is believed to be referring to the two ballistic missiles launched by north korea toward the sea of japan. senior officials from japan and the united states discussed the